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Automation and 4IR: the future of textile innovation

Any company that wants to adopt new technologies must invest in proper training for employees before proceeding the technologies

The automation and industry revolution-4 craze is sweeping the globe. Companies that adopt new technology before it becomes accepted have been able to dominate their respective sectors for years. Others who don’t succeed eventually lose out and are eliminated. Similar trends can be seen in the textile sector. It is crucial to comprehend Industry Revulation-4.0 before embracing it.

Automation & 4IR
Figure 1: Automation and 4IR- the future of textile innovation.

Engr. Razzeb Haider, the Managing Director of Outpace Spinning Mills Ltd, was the keynote speaker at the Textile Innovation Forum 2023 conference organized by Textile Today. Engr. Haider stressed the importance of embracing new technology before it becomes widely accepted to stay ahead of competitors. He described Industry 4.0 as a collection of technological changes that use communication devices and technologies in product design, manufacturing, operations, supply chain management, business processors, and systems. These changes enhance speed, quality, flexibility, efficiency, and security, increasing customer satisfaction.

He added, “The initial cost of deploying new technology solutions can be high, but mature management understands that the cost of falling behind in the competition and losing business is far greater than the initial capital deployment. Thus, it is crucial to determine the ideal timing for investment, regardless of whether the company is prepared to accept that investment.”

Automation and 4IR: the future of textile innovation
Figure 2: Engr. Razzeb Haider, the Managing Director of Outpace Spinning Mills Ltd.

Engr. Haider also listed some tools used in Industry 4.0, including powerful ERP solutions with big data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning, simulation technologies, and computer vision. He augmented reality, cyber security and cyber-physical systems, thermal imaging, 3D printing and fabricating, and robotics.

He mentioned some companies already using Industry 4.0 solutions, such as “CCI, which brings software for automated knitting machines that require very little human interaction. Shima Seiki is popular for making flat knitting machines that can transform yarn cones into seamless garments in less than an hour. Vision software is used for surface defect inspection and comprehensive fabric inspections. Google is also developing conductive threads under Project Jacquard for creating touch-sensitive textiles.”

According to Engr. Haider, “Any company that wants to adopt new technologies must invest in proper training for employees before proceeding.”

Nasimul Goni, Technical Manager of Marks & Spencer Bangladesh, spoke on the panel and discussed how the Industrial Revolution 4.0 is changing business and the supply chain and impacting the retail industry. He mentioned that “Marks & Spencer Bangladesh records all the data from product design to delivery by applying PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and uses big data to better understand customer demand. The RFID technology monitors the products on the shelves since availability is crucial. They are moving toward 3D sampling for product design, which helps them shorten lead times. The suppliers who are not using 3D sampling are being left out.”

Nasimul Goni,
Figure 3: Nasimul Goni, Technical Manager of Marks & Spencer Bangladesh.

Habibur Rahman, a Smart Factory 4.0 Consultant for the Textile Apparel Industries, expressed concern about the general public’s mindset. He suggested, “Nothing in this industry will change unless we change our thinking.” He has expertise in implementing solutions in more than 80 factories and has encountered the greatest obstacle to adopting Industry 4.0 – the unwillingness of the workforce to adopt new technologies.

During the Q&A session, a query was raised regarding the implementation strategies of automation and Industry Revolution-4 (4IR) in the textile industry. In response, panelist Habibur Rahman stated that the strategies employed must be designed considering the convenience and comfort of employees. This ensures that the transition to the new systems is seamless and allows employees to work in a manner similar to the conventional methods to which they are accustomed.

Habibur Rahman,
Figure 4: Habibur Rahman, a Smart Factory 4.0 Consultant for the Textile Apparel Industries.

Another query was raised concerning the frequent job switching by employees. Mr. Nasimul Goni responded, “It is necessary to properly groom and develop employees within the company.”

A member of the audience raised a question about the absence of locally-produced cutting-edge technologies. In reply, Engr. Razzeb Haider commented that our country’s education system must be standardized and updated. He added that universities must consistently supply qualified human resources to meet industry needs.

Overall, the conference provided valuable insights into the benefits and challenges of adopting Industry 4.0 in the textile sector and highlighted the importance of proper training and change management to ensure successful implementation.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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